Nevada pilgrims seek religious experience in Bosnian village |

Nevada pilgrims seek religious experience in Bosnian village

Kurt Hildebrand

Two St. Gall parishioners are among about 40 pilgrims headed for a little town in Bosnia called Medjugorje

Carson Valley residents Betty Hertz and Father Bill Nadeau will be getting up early on Monday to make the 30-hour flight to Sarajevo and then off to the site where Jesus’ mother Mary is reported to be in contact with six villagers.

“It is a devotion to Our Lady. We don’t worship her, but we do honor her,” Betty told me Friday. “There have been appearances there since 1981.”

Betty, a Carson Valley resident for 20 years, said she is going to visit with an open mind.

“The message she gave to the teens was that she came for all people to repent and turn back to the Lord,” she said.

Incline resident Michael Archer said this is his second trip and that he has been trying to get Father Bill to go for nearly a decade.

“It touches everyone,” he said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, but I can tell you many wonderful things have happened to people. There are several things the blessed Mother has done to confirm her presence.”

Michael’s first time at the site was 1987. The priest accompanying the group was asked to bless several religious articles the pilgrims had gathered.

“He was reluctant to bless the items on an individual basis, so he said we should get everything together and have one nice blessing for all of the articles.”

After the discussion, the group visited one of the visionaries, a woman named Mariana, who has an apparition on the second of each month.

“Thirty to 40 of us got our articles, and that evening Mariana’s first words after her apparition were ‘I want my son’s representative to bless all those articles.’ Mariana knew nothing about the situation so the information could have only come from one person and that is the blessed Mother. I was just wowed by that.”

The pilgrimage is 10 days long and sounds like a great spiritual adventure.

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Pastor Ross Hidy called me up on Tuesday with a concern. There were two plaques that were supposed to go with Snowshoe Thompson’s memorials. The one was placed last weekend at Snowshoe’s grave in Genoa Cemetery.

The other was supposed to go with the statue in Mormon Station State Park. However, because of an oversight, the plaque referred to Snowshoe as “a compassionate Christian.”

Pastor Ross, who is president of the Lutheran History Center of the West in Concord, Calif., had to take the plaque back with him.

He asked permission prior to have the plaque struck, and was told by the Nevada Attorney General’s office the words had to be stricken from the plaque.

Well, with everything that was going on, Pastor Ross forgot to get the plaque changed. So when he showed up at Mormon Station, he was told the plaque could not go up.

Pastor Ross didn’t want to start a big hullabaloo or make trouble for the State Park folks, who were doing what they were told.

However, he raises an interesting point.

“This is a question that America has to come to grips with,” he said. “The faith a person has shapes their character and actions.”

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If you see a tape of a bearded guy wearing a Valley of Fire hat and a Nevada Magazine T-shirt chasing pillows across the street on “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” then it would confirm my fear that the folks in the video booth at the New Orleans Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas were having a good time at my expense Saturday.

I tried to carry the pillows and blankets from the car up to the hotel room and ended up dropping them several times. Once, I was in the middle of a wide street when one pillow fell down and was blown all the way back across the street.

Funniest wise crack along the way, “Look that guy’s bringing his own bed.” Ha, Ha.

Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at or 782-5121.